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Eight dioceses win Renewal and Reform grants of £10.5 million for church growth projects 

14 July 2017

Creative Commons

Renewing town-centre churches: King Charles the Martyr, Falmouth, in Cornwall

Renewing town-centre churches: King Charles the Martyr, Falmouth, in Cornwall

IN THE latest grants under the Renewal and Reform programme, eight dioceses have been given a total of £10.5 million for projects that seek church growth.

This is the fifth tranche of Stra­­­tegic Development Funding from the Church Commissioners since the method of distributing funds was changed in 2014 (News, 16 January 2015, 21 October 2016).

Since the shake-up to the funding formula, half of the Commissioners’ money for ministry is reserved for dioceses to bid for, to support new initiatives that will make “a signifi­cant difference to their mission and financial health”. So far, £34.6 mil­­lion has been given to dioceses through this stream.

The dioceses to benefit from the latest grants are Coventry, Guild­­ford, Hereford, London, St Albans, Salisbury, Southwell & Nottingham, and Truro.

Salisbury diocese has been given £1.27 million to spend on boosting rural ministry. The Bishop of Salis­bury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, said: “On an average Sunday, 40 per cent of those wor­­­shipping in the Church of England do so in a rural setting.

“We are delighted that Salisbury is developing as a centre of excel­­lence in which rural ministry and mission is developed and encour­­aged with imagination and flair.”

The diocese’s scheme will include rural placements for young adults who are considering ordination, a new training pathway with Sarum College to equip ordinands for the specific challenges of ministry in the countryside, and “seed-corn fund­ing” for parishes that wish to launch new mission projects.

The diocese of Hereford has been awarded £525,000 for its project to increase intergenerational mission. The diocese will appoint six new mis­­sioners to work with people un­­­con­­nected to church, and, in parti­cular, the young.

The Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Richard Frith, said that the grant was an “encouraging affirma­­tion of our praying, plan­­ning, and working for spiritual and numerical growth”.

Truro will use its grant of £1.2 million to renew town-centre churches, beginning with those in Fal­­mouth. The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, said: “We pray and hope that this will lead to a transformation of parochial life, and we will be able to learn from this project so we can encourage other areas of the diocese to flourish and grow. There is a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm.”

The Archbishops’ Council’s dir­ector of Renewal and Reform, Mike Eastwood, said: “Re­­­newal and Re­­­form is about a grow­­ing Church in and for all people and in and for all places. The hope that each of these projects gives for a positive future for mission and ministry at the local level is inspiring.”

Salisbury’s new funding for rural ministry was announced in the same week as a lobby group, The Rural Collection, chaired by the Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, warned that the countryside could be left behind after Brexit.

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